Semester: Wintersemester 2016/2017

3.90.153 Islamophobia in European Migration Regimes


  • Fr., 02.12.2016, 10:00 - 20:00
  • Sa., 03.12.2016, 11:00 - 15:00


The prominence of the trope "Islam" as religious as well as cultural monolithic entity indicates recent shifts in migration and identity discourses not only in Europe as a supranational formation, but also in its nation states. Reinforcing already historically established orientalist and colonial paradigms, "European values" are seen as irreconcilable with worldviews linked to Islam. The debate about the membership of "Muslim Turkey" in the "Secular-Christian European Union" can be read as a striking example for such discourse patterns (see for the debate, e.g., Casanova 2004).
However, in contrast to former discourses the drawings of (imaginary) borderlines between "we" and "the others" currently go far beyond the constructions of "occident and orient" as geopolitical spaces. The religious-cultural denoted term "Muslim migrant" as substitution of the former ethnic-national denoted term "guest worker" or "immigrant worker" signifies newly established borders within European nations (Yilmaz 2012). In times of the "war against terror" the essentialising of Muslims includes the binary classification on the one hand of "extremist"/ "fundamentalist"/ "pious Muslims" and on the other hand of "moderate Muslims".
Those referred to as "moderate Muslims" who emphasize the necessity of reforming Islam and their adherence to liberal secular norms are regarded as migrants who could be integrated in European societies. Nevertheless, such ascriptions are not fixed; they rather are floating in current discursive settings. In other words, according to widespread negative images in politics, media, film as well as in social science "moderate Moslems", too, can easily be relabeled and be perceived as a (potential) threat for the coherence and/ or security of European societies. In particular, the emphasis of Muslim opposition to gender equality and liberal sexual policies plays an important role as marker of difference and is supported by all political strands.
The shifts in European discourses on migration and identity have been analysed in social science as "Islamophobia", as a current mode of racialising or racialized governmentality (Tyrer and Sayyid 2012). The social scientist Levent Tezcan introduces the term "Homo Islamicus" in his analysis of processes of subjectivation as a result of the interplay between governmental techniques, public ascriptions and the claims and self-ascriptions of Muslim organizations (Tezcan 2007, 2012). Besides politics of exclusion or suspicion, there exist also inclusive politics of "islamization" of migrants which operate via empowerment of religious identity and actors.
The workshop, public lecture and film presentation address concepts and case studies which try to grasp the current social and political developments from different perspectives - analysing policies, public debates and visual representations in European countries. Additionally, a closer look shall be taken at which strategies could or should be employed to interrupt patterns of labeling as well as essentialist constructions of groups of people as eligible subjects for fixed conceptions of European identity/ identities (in often silent alignment with neoliberal democratic forms of governance and formations of social existence).


Friday, 2 December
10:00 – 18:00 Workshop
18:00 h Public Lecture
Liberal-Secular Power and the Predicaments of Knowledge Production: The case of the 'Muslim Question' in Europe; Prof. Dr. Schirin Amir-Moazami (Freie Universität Berlin)

Abstract: Starting with the current incitement to discourse on Islam and Muslims in Europe my talk critically addresses the nexus of knowledge and power involved in what has been framed as Europe’s "Muslim Question". More specifically, I am concerned with the relationship between epistemological structures of discourses on Islam and Muslims in Europe and the related status of the knowing subject who is entitled, sometimes even compelled to speak the truth.
I argue that in order to understand the discursive explosion” on Islam and Muslims in Europe, we need to understand the racial and liberal-secular grammars of knowledge production enabled by nation-state frameworks, in which deviant (religious) minorities are incorporated into a civilizing project that either normalizes or exceptionalizes difference.
Extending recent scholarship on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim racism, I claim that we need to critically engage the powers of liberal-secular governmentality which produce normative frameworks of "proper religion" and "proper knowledge". Dwelling on scholarship of secular studies, I thus suggest looking at the entanglements between modes of power operative in liberal-secular nation-state structures and the embodied attachments to the secular, as articulated both in social practices and in epistemological underpinnings of knowledge production bound to and enabled by these very structures.

Saturday, 3 December 2016, 11:00 - 15:00
Film Presentation & Discussion

Timbuktu, 97 min, France & Mauritania 2014, directed by Abderrahmane Sissako.

The workshop organizers will introduce the film and provide space for discussion after the presentation. Snacks and drinks will be available.

• Akkus, Birol, 2016. The Cologne Incidents: Sexism and misogyny, or us versus them? VocalEurope. European Magazine, [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 8 August 2016]. Please read online.
• Amir-Moazami, Schirin, 2016. Secular Power and the Predicaments of Knowledge Production on Muslims in Europe. In: TRAFO – Blog for Transregional Research. Available at: [Accessed 11 August 2016].
• Betz, Hans-Georg, 2013. Mosques, minarets, burqas and other essential threats: the populist right's campaign against Islam in Western Europe. In: Wodak, Ruth, Majid KhosraviNik and Brigitte Mral, eds. Right-Wing Populism in Europe. Politics and Discourse. London et al.: Bloomsbury Publishing, pp.71-87.
• Casanova, José, 2008. The problem of religion and the anxieties of European secular democracy. In: Gabriel Motzkin and Yochi Fischer, eds. Religion and democracy in contemporary Europe. London: Alliance Publishing Trust, pp.63-74.
• Said, Edward, 2000 [1978], Orientalism. In: Moustafa Bayoumi and Andrew Rubin, eds. The Edward Said Reader. New York: Vintage Books, pp.63-113.
• Stockle, Silke and Marion Wegscheider, 2016. After Cologne: Sexism is not an imported product. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 August 2016].
• Taoua, Phyllis, 2015. Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu and its controversial reception. In: African Studies Review, 58 (2), pp.270-278.
• Tezcan, Levent, 2008. Governmentality: Pastoral Care and Integration. In: Ala Al-Hamarneh and Jörn Thielmann, eds. Islam and Muslims in Germany. Leiden: Brill, pp.119-132.



  • ipb611 Freies Modul
  • ipb618 Transculturality and Cultural Mobility
  • kul250 Exemplarische Analyse Materieller Kultur und ihrer Vermittlung
  • mir130 Theorizing Historical and Contemporary Migration Processes & Intercultural Relations
  • mir320 Theory and Methods in Migration Studies
  • mkt300 Verfahren der Kulturanalyse
  • mkt301 Verfahren der Kulturanalyse


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